On May 21, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill decriminalizing simple possession of marijuana under Virginia law. Under the new legislation, it is still unlawful to possess marijuana, with medical exceptions, but possession will now result in a civil penalty of no more than $25. Simple possession of marijuana will no longer lead to a criminal conviction or jail time. This new law will take effect on July 1, 2020.
Records relating to the arrest, criminal charge, or conviction of an individual for simple possession of marijuana will not be open for public inspection or otherwise disclosed, with limited exceptions. This legislation also prohibits employers from requiring job applicants to disclose any arrests, criminal charges or convictions for simple possession of marijuana. When answering questions concerning any arrests, criminal charges, or convictions, job applicants are permitted to exclude references to possession of marijuana. Employers that “willfully” violate this prohibition can be found guilty of a misdemeanor for each violation.
Employers should review their hiring policies and procedures to ensure they comply with this new legislation before the law takes effect on July 1. Employers should also train hiring personnel on the new legislation and any changes in policies or procedures.
For guidance regarding how this legislation affects your business, contact the employment law experts at General Counsel, PC today at 703-991-7973.